Understanding the Holy Spirit

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” ( 1 Corinthians 3:16)

Just the title of this Praiseletter triggers thoughts, emotions and a broad spectrum of doctrinal beliefs within this readership.

Some may jump for joy as they anticipate a discussion of spiritual giftings, miraculous manifestations and what a “spirit-filled” life should look like; at least according to their doctrinal position, experience and understanding.

Others may begin to get a little nervous, fearing that we may embark on a discussion of some of the aforementioned topics. This could be somewhat uncomfortable to those who feel a little calmer just not talking too much about the Holy Spirit because perhaps they have not been taught properly who He is and what He desires.

Thus, I write this letter, most simple and yet profound in its implications as we consider just a couple key issues concerning the Holy Spirit and us.

The Holy Spirit According to Scripture

First of all and most importantly, let’s look to God’s Word.

“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)

What a clear and important statement for us to grasp from God’s Word! His Spirit gives us life and so apart from His Spirit we cannot have life.

This verse speaks not only of physical life, but spiritual and eternal life as well.

So here is a most important point to understand and embrace. Every true believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. That may seem an obvious truth to many but I can tell you there are many who believe (in various ways) that one can be saved and then receive His Spirit at some later occasion.

We say things like, “I received Christ” or, “I asked Jesus into my heart.”

These statements are fine and attest to a very real truth but sometimes lead us to an improper conclusion.

Jesus and the Holy Spirit

Jesus said, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Holy Spirit) shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)

When we say we receive Christ, it is His Spirit in fact that we receive. We know from Scripture that right now and since His ascension, Christ is at the right hand of the Father.

“This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God (Acts 2:32-33)

Before Stephen was stoned he proclaimed, “Behold, I see the Heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God…” (Acts 7:56)

The writer to the Hebrews says: “Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, (Jesus) who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the Heavens.” (Hebrew 8:1)

Through our terminology and perhaps a view of the famous painting of Jesus knocking at our heart’s door, we invision an image of this bearded, robed savior walking into our being somehow.

It is true He has, but it is by His Spirit.

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit

This easily opens the door to a lengthy discussion of the Triune Godhead. Time and paper do not permit that just now.

This we know from Scripture: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Each a separate person with a distinct function, if you will, within the Godhead, yet each fully God.

Toward the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He gives every true disciple a clear and powerful commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

If you do not believe in a Triune Godhead, this would probably be a good time to fold up this letter, place it in the file of your choice and maybe see if there is something good on TV.

Yes, it’s rather sarcastic humor but I’ve heard and read all the best arguments of the “non-Trinitarians” and find them to be lacking biblical support and scholarship.

How Much of the Holy Spirit Do You Have

Some say, “Christians have the Holy Spirit, but sometimes, they don’t have all of the Holy Spirit.”

This then begs the question, “How much of the Holy Spirit do they have?” Sixty-two percent, ninety-three percent or maybe just twenty-seven percent?

The Scripture always refers to the Holy Spirit as a person and understands Him to be just that. Indwelt by a partial person of the Godhead does not make “biblical sense.”

Perhaps a more legitimate question is not how much of the Holy Spirit we have, but rather how much of us the Holy Spirit has.

We can approach and discuss this point in so many ways but here’s what Scripture desires that we know and affirm: one of the absolute greatest moments in biblical and human history is when God decided to literally dwell within us by His own Holy Spirit.

Fully God in mortal man
This was His eternal plan
Temples made of flesh and blood
Never more of stone or wood
Holy lives His glories show
Heaven reaches here below
Holy Spirit, You have come
Make us more like God’s own Son

The Holy Spirit Dwells in You

As a true believer, it is absolutely essential that you realize the Spirit of the Living God dwells in His fullness within you!

Scripture says, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him..” (Romans 8:9)

This verse makes it clear. If you do not have His Spirit, you don’t belong to Christ. But if you do belong to Christ, you therefore have His Spirit.

Is there more to be discussed about the Holy Spirit; His ministry to and through us? His giftings? His ministry as Helper, Teacher, Comforter? Yes, to be sure, but none of those things will help us to grow as we should in Christ and be conformed to His image as He desires, unless we understand He dwells within us fully by The Holy Spirit!